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More students in the Lancaster County School District passed both sections of the exit exam in 2007 than in the year before, according to data the state Department of Education released this month.
Public high school students must pass the English language arts and math sections of the high school assessment program to meet South Carolina's exit examination requirement for a diploma.
The test is given to students during their second year in high school. Students who don't pass on the first try have additional chances to retake the section they didn't pass.
The test has a 4-point scale and students must score at least a 2 on a section to pass.
More than 77 percent of the district's students taking the exam passed both sections on their first attempt, a 5 percent increase from 2006.
Buford High School had the largest percentage of students to pass on the first try out of the district's four high schools. The percentage of Buford High students passing on the first try went from 78.7 percent in 2006 to 86.2 this year.
At Andrew Jackson High School, 77.8 of the students passed the exam on their first try in 2007. That's a 6.4 percent jump from 2006.
At Indian Land High, the percentage of students passing the exam on their first try decreased slightly, from 83.1 a year ago to 82.6 percent in 2007.
At Lancaster High School, 69.6 percent of students passed the exam on their first try, compared with 63.3 percent of students in 2006.
Like the local district, just over 77 percent of South Carolina's 10th-graders passed the exit exam on their first attempt. That represents a nearly 2.4 percentage-point improvement over 2006 and a 5.3 percentage-point improvement over 2005.
"Raising South Carolina's on-time high school graduation rate is a key goal, and improved HSAP (High School Assessment Program) performance is definitely a step in that direction," state Superintendent of Education Dr. Jim Rex said.
Contact Jesef Williams
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